July 16, 2021Print | PDF
Wilfrid Laurier University has appointed Gus Hill as the new Lyle S. Hallman Chair in Child and Family Welfare for a five-year term. Hill is an associate professor in Laurier’s Indigenous Field of Study program within the Faculty of Social Work and recently completed a four-year term as the program’s associate dean. As the Lyle S. Hallman Chair in Child and Family Welfare, Hill will continue studying how to improve the well-being of Indigenous Canadians.
“I am honoured to be recognized by my colleagues and to have my work acknowledged,” says Hill, who was unanimously elected to the position by a faculty committee. “As an Indigenous faculty member, I am excited to be appointed to an endowed research chair. This position and its built-in support will enable me to bring my areas of research focus together, so I am humbled by this opportunity and I feel invigorated to get busy with the work.”
Hill is Anishnaabe from Obadjiwaan (Batchawana) First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and is a member of the Neveau clan. He completed his master’s and PhD in Social Work at Laurier, where he has been a faculty member since 2011.
The Lyle S. Hallman Chair in Child and Family Welfare was established through an endowment by its namesake in 2001. Hallman was a well-known philanthropist in Waterloo Region and his work continues through the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation. As chair, Hill will be tasked with conducting research, developing curricula, teaching master’s and doctoral students in Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, and disseminating information aimed at preventing child and family welfare problems to other academics, professionals and service providers across Canada and around the world.
“Professor Hill was highly recommended for this position by his colleagues in the Indigenous Field of Study program and by our faculty as a whole,” says Dawn Buzza, outgoing dean of the Faculty of Social Work. “His scholarship, exemplified by his recent book Indigenous Healing: Voices of Elders and Healers, focuses on the ways in which Indigenous peoples can address the harms experienced and associated with colonization through traditional healing and wellness practices. Professor Hill’s research as Hallman Chair will emphasize these approaches in the context of collective well-being among Indigenous communities.”
Indigenous Healing: Voices of Elders and Healers was released in 2021. Recognizing the lack of understanding of traditional healing practices in mainstream Canadian culture, Hill intended to bridge the cultural divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Hill has previously published in journals including Canadian Social Work Review and Indigenous Social Work Journal and has collaborated with community research partners including the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre and Anishnabeg Outreach.
“At the core of my research work is wholism, healing and wellness for our Indigenous peoples and communities,” says Hill. “As chair, my focus will remain the same, but with more specific attention to the wellness of children, wholistic family wellness and how to address the trauma experienced in Indigenous communities. I hope to achieve pathways to wellness with, and for, Indigenous peoples and I have a longer-term goal of creating an Indigenous research centre where Indigenous researchers can collaborate in a supported way.
“I also hope my appointment to this research chair clears a pathway for Indigenous academics to see themselves reflected in such a position and I hope that it will create opportunities for Indigenous students at Laurier to engage in research. I am excited to continue working with Indigenous students and faculty and holding up the principles of Indigegogy in research.”
We see you are accessing our website on IE8. We recommend you view in Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE9+ instead.×